April 8, 2005
UN SUDAN RESOLUTION: A STEP TO END 'DARFUR'S HORROR'
** Outlets agree that the situation in Darfur remains a crisis.
** UN resolution a "vital" step in dealing with the "humanitarian catastrophe."
** Euro papers opine that Resolution 1593 creates an "important precedent" for the ICC.
** Outlets allege U.S. resistance to ICC reflects a "policy of double standards."
Darfur is a 'humanitarian tragedy'-- A Brazilian paper declared "what is taking place in Darfur is genocide" and France's left-of-center Liberation agreed, arguing that "time is pressing" for "those who said 'Never Again'" after Rwanda. Moderate Arab writers agreed that Sudan's government had "played down the tragedy," and would "not be allowed to defy the international community." Lebanon's moderate Daily Star said the UNSC "affirmed that crimes of such a horrific magnitude are unacceptable." Sudanese media, however, insisted the conflict in Darfur is part of a "peace process" and criticized the world community for not supporting "the achievement of peace."
UN action a 'welcome break in Darfur impasse'-- Euro dailies agreed the resolution "all in all is positive." The center-left Irish Times stated "there should be a definite, if qualified, welcome for the agreement," but skeptical outlets doubted the major powers would "forcefully compel Sudan to cooperate." A Lebanese paper applauded the UNSC's "resounding clarity and commitment to justice," but hard-line Arab writers argued that charges of war crimes in Darfur seem to be "an invention similar to weapons of mass destruction in Iraq." The pro-government Sudan Vision promised Sudan would "stand steadfast against" the resolution; another local outlet condemned charges against Sudan as "the venom of the Zionist Church."
Resolution 'empowers' ICC-- Euro outlets said the UN decision to put Sudan's war criminals on trial at the ICC sent "a historic message." Italy's left-leaning La Repubblica claimed that with the resolution, the UNSC "indirectly legitimized the ICC" as "the main international forum of criminal justice." Germany's centrist Der Tagesspiegel asserted that the U.S. would no longer "be able to maintain its obstructionist course against the ICC." However, a conservative Euro outlet stated that Washington would not "sign the ICC statutes" regardless of the resolution's passage. Sudan's independent Al Ayam supported the ICC's decision to give Sudan itself "the opportunity to administer these trials."
U.S. exemption from ICC is 'worrisome'-- Critics claimed the resolution's "condition that American citizens are granted immunity" creates a "double standard." An Italian paper wondered if "justice is imposed only on the poor countries." Saudi Arabia's moderate Al-Jazirah was upset because "the Americans who are guilty" of the "mass killing of civilians" and "violation of human rights" have not been brought before an international court. Canada's conservative Winnipeg Sun dismissed these claims, noting that the U.S. has "done more than any other country to stop the slaughter."
Prepared by Media Reaction Branch (202) 203-7888, email@example.com
EDITOR: David Meyers
EDITOR'S NOTE: Media Reaction reporting conveys the spectrum of foreign press sentiment. Posts select commentary to provide a representative picture of local editorial opinion. Some commentary is taken directly from the Internet. This report summarizes and interprets foreign editorial opinion and does not necessarily reflect the views of the U.S. Government. This analysis was based on 37 reports from 17 countries over March 29 - April 8, 2005. Editorial excerpts are listed by the most recent date.
SUDAN: "Khartoum Responds Against Unfair Resolution"
The pro-government English-language Sudan Vision declared (4/4): "We shall see today and will show the whole world how Khartoum will react towards the resolution and how it will stand steadfast against it.”
"Adhering To National Sovereignty Against French And American Haughtiness"
Pro-GOS but formerly independent Arabic-language Al Khartoum opined (4/4): “President Al-Bashir’s refusal to hand over Sudanese nationals to the ICC is an indicator of the country's position of adhering to national sovereignty against French and American haughtiness. These superpowers should realize now that they are confronting a country whose people prefer to die than live in humiliation.”
"GOS Must Accelerate Efforts For National Reconciliation"
Leading pro-GOS Arabic-language Al Rai Al Aam observed (4/4): “It's up to the ruling party to reject the UN resolution on the ICC, but the GOS must act in a rational manner to protect the people from its negative impact. GOS should exert efforts to reach agreement with the rebels of Darfur and must accelerate efforts for national reconciliation and ask the SPLM/A for help in this direction.”
"Sudanese Will Prove That Peace Is Their Ultimate Objective"
The pro-government English-language Sudan Vision stated (4/4): “We used to think that the United States, the Security Council, and the whole international community were keen on supporting the Sudanese peace process. We thought that the achievement of peace had priority over every other issue, but that proved wrong. It seems that the achievement of peace is a purely Sudanese concern. Consequently, we call on all Sudanese political forces, Sudan Government, and SPLA, to transcend all their differences and exert all efforts to bring Sudanese peace to reality. We must also show the whole world that we are quite capable of achieving our national peace and stability despite all these impediments.”
"Maybe The Leaders of The U.S. Congress Have Forgotten The Atrocities Of Their Ancestors"
The pro-government English-language Sudan Vision observed (4/4): “I wish to put before an investigation committee the case of the systematic eradication operations of the Red Indians. We are interested in this because the highest voices calling for taking our citizens to the International Court come from America. Maybe the leaders of the U.S. Congress have forgotten the atrocities committed by their criminal ancestors.”
"Our Students Should Not Wait: In Iran Students Succeeded In Invading The U.S. Embassy"
Pro-GOS, extremist-Islamist, anti-U.S., anti-Western Arabic-language Al Wifaq editorialized (4/4): “GOS has refrained from speculating about relations with the crusader-countries. This stance undermines efforts for mobilizing the public. The students’ unions, however, should not wait for the GOS and should remember that in Iran, students succeeded in entering the American Embassy until (President) Carter was overthrown and held its diplomats as captives.”
"Sudan Should Benefit From The Right Granted By The ICC"
Independent Al Ayam stated (4/3): “The issue of handing over Sudanese defendants to the ICC should not be resolved via confrontations and angry reactions. Sudan should benefit from the right granted to it by the ICC, which gives it the opportunity to administer these trials.”
"Unification Is A Must"
Leading pro-GOS Arabic-language Al Rai Al Aam observed (4/3): “Al Rai Al Aam calls for the unification of the national front. The unification of the national front is a MUST. This should be achieved without any delay and with the participation of all political forces.”
"The Media Have Convicted The Sudanese Nationals"
Leading pro-GOS but increasingly critical Al Sahafa noted (4/3): “The international community is prepared to accept the urgent calls that led to the trying of Sudanese nationals and is prepared to convict them as well. Even if the court in The Hague has not yet convicted the Sudanese nationals, the media have already done so.”
"Nationalism Will Lead Us To Win Over The Battle Against The Zionist Church"
Independent Al Adwaa observed (4/3): “The Sudanese public was pleased with the national stance of the head of the National Democratic Party and Alliance, Al-Mirghani, who rejected the UNSC resolution on Sudan. This stance shows us clearly how important it is to view things in their proper perspective, away from the party's narrow vision. This high sense of nationalism will lead us to win over the battle against the venom of the Zionist Church.”
FRANCE: "Darfur: America's Inertia"
Jacques Amalric maintained in left-of-center Liberation (4/4): “Time is pressing in Darfur, if those who said ‘Never Again’ after the Rwanda massacres want to be credible.... The UNSC dilly-dallied for over two months before adopting the resolution on the ICC and Darfur criminals. The U.S. is responsible for this delay because of its refusal to recognize the court's jurisdiction. This is what is called the Kissinger syndrome.... To satisfy the Bush administration, the European members of the UNSC accepted a certain category of U.S. personnel to be exempted from potential future pursuits, leading to Washington's abstention, rather than a veto.”
Dietrich Alexander argued in right-of-center Die Welt of Berlin (4/7): "The UN is reacting late...but still, the UN is serious and allows the International Criminal Court to try the crimes…. The fact that the ICC does not stop at charging high-ranking government members and military officials is as consistent as it is for the urgently necessary credibility of the UN. But it remains the UN's secret how it wants to bring the culprits without their approval and the support of the Sudanese government to The Hague. To sentence mass murderers in absence is not a probate means for deterrence. That is why it is likely that military intervention or an embargo on Khartoum cannot be avoided in the long run.
"Too Early To Heave A Sigh Of Relief"
Constanze Stelzenmüller judged in center-left weekly Die Zeit of Hamburg (4/6): "The misery in the UN Security Council must have been great if even the United States was willing to accept the International Criminal Court to deal with [the genocide] in Sudan. But it is too early to heave a sigh of relief. In 1993 (when the ICC did not yet exist), the Security Council set up the UN Tribunal for ex-Yugoslavia to get rid of its bad conscience once and for all. Then there was the massacre of Srebrenica, there was the global outcry, and NATO's intervention. The Alliance is still hunting war criminals today, but who is hunting the Sudanese militia forces? At any rate, the ICC does not have its own police force."
"The Doors Are Opening"
Christoph von Marschall opined in centrist der Tagesspiegel of Berlin (4/3): "In a week of epoch-making news, a historic message can easily be ignored. Such a decision is the UN resolution to put the murderers from Sudan on trial before the ICC.... This turnabout will confirm the views of all those who have pinned their hopes on the hope that the U.S. will, in the long run, not be able to maintain its obstructionists course against the ICC. It is true that the U.S. reconfirmed its negative view and insisted on an exception for U.S. soldiers serving in Iran, but it made the decision possible by abstaining from voting. The United States need not fear this court. It must stand the test as a means against war criminals. But they do not sit in the few democratic governments in the world. America seems to slowly lose its suspicion."
Center-right Frankfurter Allgemeine argued (4/2): "Since this is the first time that the UNSC has now asked the International Criminal Court (ICC) to look into the matter, people who are convinced of the power of international law and support the ideal of a civilized global domestic policy, are praising this step as historic. But time will tell how historic this step really is: It will depend on the reaction of the suspected people, on whether it will have a deterring effect on other potential human rights violators, and on whether the acceptance of the ICC will increase. But we should very well avoid interpreting this abstention from voting as a turnabout of the U.S. government. Washington will not give up the primacy of sovereignty and not sign the ICC statutes."
"Rwanda And Darfur"
Erik-Michael Bader stated in center-right Frankfurter Allgemeine (4/1): "A Hutu rebel force operating from eastern Congo has now announced that it plans to stop fighting. At the same time, it condemned the genocide against the Tutsi minority in 1994.... Time will tell whether this is mainly based on tactical maneuvering or, under the commendable influence of Roman peace mediators, on true insight and repentance.... These activities got another cruel dimension because the global public accepted the killings without complaining as if the killing of 800,000 people were a trifle. At that time, the world could have learned that killings are somehow a matter for the world. The current hesitant treatment of the crimes in the western Sudanese Darfur province created the impression that such learning process has only been in its infancy. But now there are signs for an agreement that the new world tribunal, the International Criminal Court, will become responsible for dealing with the crimes in Darfur."
"Testing Ground Sudan"
Roland Heine said in left-of-center Berliner Zeitung (4/1): "For weeks, the U.S. government has blocked the UNSC with the question of alleged war criminals in Sudan can be called to account...but now a way out seems to be possible: The U.S. abstains from voting thus allowing the International Criminal Court (ICC) to take action.... This conflict again makes clear: contrary to its propaganda, the Bush administration does not care about the people in the crisis region but is only interested in preserving its power. Washington rejects cooperation with the ICC, mainly because it is afraid that such a court could in the future also deal with U.S. war crimes. In addition, in difference to a new tribunal, the ICC can become active right away. Those who advocate a special tribunal are obstructing the work of prosecutors. It also became clear that Washington's strategy to isolate the court internationally failed. On the contrary, during the most recent conflict in the UNSC, the U.S. stood alone, and its critics acted resolutely."
ITALY: "International Justice Has Changed Course"
Antonio Cassese commented in left-leaning influential La Repubblica (4/2): "The UNSC resolution on Darfur marks a change of course within the ambit of international criminal justice.... At last, the UNSC...has authorized the ICC to take action against a state that had failed to ratify the ICC statute. Thus, the UNSC also indirectly legitimized the ICC itself as the main international forum of criminal justice. Above all, it created an important precedent. Of course, a price had to be paid to the U.S.... The Sudanese government immediately complained about the 'double-standard' approach, pointing out that...justice is imposed only on the poor countries, while major powers are exempted. It however can be argued that the contention, which is valid in general terms, has little importance in connection with Darfur. It does not appear that Americans have ever committed any crimes in Sudan, and it is highly unlikely that they will. Furthermore, the U.S.' obstinacy in subtracting itself from any form of international control is not a good reason to block justice for everyone.... The major shortcoming of the resolution lies elsewhere. No provisions were made to set up a special victim-compensation committee.... However, the UNSC resolution all in all is positive, and also has three specific merits. First of all, it empowers the Criminal Court...to conduct its trials in Africa, thus enabling it to be significantly present in the very area where the relative crimes were committed. Then, the Court is called on to cooperate with Sudanese authorities, especially so as to promote the taking of legal action at a local level.... Lastly, The Hague's public prosecutor's office has to abide by a strict timetable.... Clearly, this is only a beginning. In recent days the Government of Sudan had said that it would never hand over one of its citizens to any non-Sudanese court of law.... Will the major powers be willing to forcefully compel Sudan to cooperate with The Hague? The trial of truth will be had in the coming months, when we will see whether the ICC is bound to keep scraping by, or to become an effective body of justice."
AUSTRIA: "Warning Signal to Warlords"
Adelheid Wolfl observed in independent Der Standard (4/7): "The transfer of 51 names of alleged war criminals to the prosecutor in The Hague is not just important for obtaining justice for the 180,000 victims in Darfur. The militia and government representatives are charged with mass rape, displacement, and murder. But the action also strengthens the position of the International Court and is as such a success for the Europeans who support it. After all, this is the first time the Court, which was established in 2002, will take legal action against war crimes and crimes against humanity on the basis of a UN decision. The Darfur case is therefore an important warning signal for other states, which can see that the international community actually acts against tyrants and warlords. True, the U.S. only allowed the investigations in Darfur under the condition that American citizens are granted immunity. The strategy to undermine the Court with the help of the Security Council was not applied this time."
BELGIUM: "Swift Action?"
Foreign Editor Paul De Bruyn wondered in conservative Christian-Democrat Gazet van Antwerpen (4/1): "Honor to whom honor is due: it is the Americans who are trying to do something in Darfur. They want swift action. The UNSC resolution was voted under pressure from them. But, the Americans, too, cannot accelerate things sufficiently. They, too, are hindered by slow decision-making--because their policy is ambiguous. The best way to end the massacres is to bring the perpetrators to the ICC. France has a resolution to that end ready, but the U.S. does not recognize the court. The U.S. may be facing a choice soon: should it veto the resolution so that those who are responsible remain off the hook or should it make a major turnabout and recognize the court? The fact that the French intend to introduce their resolution to force the Americans to make that choice is a stunning example of perfidious politics--that makes the people in Darfur the ante between Paris and Washington. In the meantime the massacres continue. Soon after, the world will swear that such atrocity should never happen again.”
IRELAND: "Welcome Break In Darfur Impasse"
The center-left Irish Times argued (4/4): “There should be a definite, if qualified, welcome for the agreement reached at the UN Security Council last week on the crisis in Darfur. It has broken a disgracefully long-standing political impasse on bringing relief and justice to the nearly two million people expelled from this region of Sudan and the death of nearly 200,000 of them over the last two years in flight or in refugee camps.... It very much remains to be seen whether this will move the crisis in Sudan forward sufficiently to bring relief to those who have suffered so much in its multiple conflicts for so many years. The most positive change registered by these agreements has been in the attitudes of major powers towards them. The United States abstained on the resolution referring individuals to the ICC after it obtained exemptions for its citizens. This represents a substantial change of policy, following the Bush administration's systematic opposition to the court. It is an unsatisfactory state of affairs, which leaves the future role of the court unclear so far as U.S. citizens are concerned; that argument will continue, but should not disguise the welcome shift involved. China, Russia and Algeria also abstained on the resolutions, after having previously blocked progress towards an agreement arising from their particular interests in the region. Their decisions are in response to international pressure, which must now be maintained in pursuit of a more comprehensive settlement. The Security Council's agreement to raise a 10,000 strong force to oversee the agreement between northern and southern Sudan is also welcome, but it will definitely not be strong enough to ensure the pact is implemented should there be resistance to it, as Sudan's government rejects any ICC role.... Above all Sudan needs international commitments of aid for those displaced in Darfur and elsewhere in the vast country, concrete plans to return them home and assurances that political pressure will be kept up to ensure these agreements are followed through. This is a huge and demanding agenda which has been kept in the public eye mainly by aid agencies. Governments must now act on it with sustained pressure on all concerned.”
NETHERLANDS: "Darfur Breakthrough"
Influential independent NRC Handelsblad opined (4/1): "Does the U.S. feel greater repugnance for the ICC in The Hague than for genocide?.... It appeared that Washington would give free rein to its aversion to the court at the cost of a penal approach to the unremitting series of gruesome acts being committed in Darfur. But the Bush administration has now allowed this issue to be referred to the court by the UNSC. It is a small miracle, if only because the UNSC resolution came from the French. Previously, the U.S. had been pushing for a special tribunal for Darfur.... A UN investigative committee urged referral of the Darfur case to the ICC, although the commission did not go so far as to speak of genocide, as the Americans did. In addition to being controversial within the U.S., the American aversion to the court was also a source of new tensions with the European allies. It looked as though the Europeans were becoming weak-kneed.... Europe did not allow its member states to be played off one another and rightly stood by the ICC. Naturally, this required concessions. The most significant one being that the resolution makes an exception for the participants in international operations in Darfur. They can be tried for any crimes only by their own countries.... The problem is that the UNSC is in this manner in fact reinterpreting existing treaties.... This precedent carries some risks. On the other hand, one benefit is that the resolution does not give the U.S. the across-the-board protection it earlier enjoyed.... In a subtle concession to American sensibilities, the resolution does call upon the states directly involved to cooperate with the ICC, but not--as the text will read--'all states.' In other words, the U.S. will not have to lift a finger to help the ICC. That may be, but the legitimacy of the ICC has receive an enormous boost from this resolution. It is moreover a tremendous challenge to this not-yet-established court to make use of this momentum."
EGYPT: "Sudan And Complications Of The Next Stage"
Pro-government leading Al-Ahram editorialized (4/5): "The Sudanese Government has entered a new stage of confrontation with international powers. This stage was ushered in by the issuance of Security Council Resolution No. 1593, which referred the file of Darfur to the International Criminal Court [ICC], making it possible to try Sudanese government officials on the charge of committing crimes against humanity.... In other words, the final decision of the Sudanese Government should be based on a practical, objective assessment of a number of key changes in the Sudanese arena. The most important of these changes are the problem of the south and the relationship with the [Sudan] People's [Liberation] Movement [SPLM], the creation of a state of political and constitutional vacuum, and the extent to which the Sudanese economy can bear the cost of the alternative of escalation. This means that the Sudanese Government's rejection of cooperation with the ICC will provide an important justification for further escalation."
"What About The Crimes Of The Abu Ghraib Prison?"
Jalal Duwaydar wrote in pro-government aggressive Al-Akhbar (4/3): "The world will not be better with the continued use of double standards in dealing with the issues and problems of its peoples and states. Pursuing this crooked behavior is consistent with moral decadence that advocates the need to abandon values, principles, and justice. This discrimination leads to feelings of injustice, which lead to frustration and undermine the security and stability of the countries of the world, led by those that practice the policy of double standards out of selfishness and desire to serve their interests and the interests of their agents. This applies to the United States and its lackey, Israel, and represents a nail in the coffin of the credibility of international legitimacy. No one can accept any crime characterized by alleged genocide or violation of human rights, neither in Darfur nor in any place in the world. While we condemn any such crimes in Darfur for which any party to this conflict is held responsible, the Security Council resolution should not have consecrated the principle of double standards also. This resolution raises questions about whether there is a difference between an American criminal and a Sudanese criminal or any criminal holding a different nationality. How can the Council resolution call for referring the people accused of committing crimes against humanity in Darfur to the International Criminal Court and stipulate that U.S. citizens would be excepted from such trials if such charges are leveled against them? If Washington's excuse for this exception is its refusal to sign the international treaty, which has won the approval of most countries of the world, and the condition for approving the French draft resolution, Sudan, the target of this resolution, has also not signed this treaty. The Security Council's approval of the French draft resolution on what happened and is happening in Darfur reminds us of the crimes of the Americans in the Abu Ghraib Prison in Iraq, which involved flagrant violations of human rights, and the genocide the Iraqi people have been facing since the start of the American invasion. Why did the Security Council fail to fulfill its duty in this respect despite the confessions and the availability of documents that proved such crimes?.... I hope that this American arrogance represented in the use of double standards, whether with regard to its interests or the interests of states moving in its orbit, would not lead to this same destructive end. There is no solution to this predicament other than siding with justice and endorsing equality and freedom for all. These principles are entrenched in the American Constitution, but the Bush administration has chosen to ignore them."
"Arab, Muslim Groups' Stand on Darfur, Government's 'Non-Seriousness'"
Abdallah Abd-al-Salam stated in leading pro-government Al-Ahram (4/2): "Before the Sudanese Government exhausts its precious time and efforts in condemning yesterday's Security Council resolution on trying those accused of committing war crimes in Darfur, among whom are senior officials, perhaps it should have revised its actions and policies that dragged Sudan into this serious quagmire so as to draw conclusions commensurate with the magnitude of these mistakes.... Since the very first days of the conflict in early 2003, the government played down the tragedy and limited it to a dispute over water, grass, and land. At a time when the world spoke about tens of thousands of deaths, Khartoum insisted that there were only a couple of hundreds of deaths. It took the government a long time to disarm the Jinjawid militias that are accused of committing killings and rapes. In fact, there are some who accuse the government of non-seriousness in this regard. The government policy was to backtrack one step each time the international community escalated its handling of this tragedy. Hence, each time the government shyly admitted the occurrence of crimes it had earlier denied until the world lost its trust in the government, took it upon itself to follow the issue, and leveled charges of war crimes, ethnic cleansing, and rape."
SAUDI ARABIA: "Darfur To ICC"
The pro-government English-language Arab News held (4/6): "The country has already been forced against its will into a peace agreement with southern rebels — an agreement which is likely to result in the south gaining independence in six years’ time. In the view of the man in the street, at least in Khartoum, the agreement was largely the result of pressure by Washington. Once more outsiders are dictating terms to the country. Accordingly, people and government have set their faces firmly against cooperation with the ICC. The view is that if anyone should be put on trial, it should happen in a Sudanese court. Sudan's President Omar Bashir is reported as having sworn that he would never hand any Sudanese national to a foreign court, and there have been angry demonstrations on the streets of Khartoum. In normal circumstances, it would be impossible not to sympathize with the government in Khartoum. But these are not normal circumstances. People have died in Darfur in their tens of thousands--and are still dying. By the UN’s own figures, 70,000 died between last March and October. Over the two years since the conflict flared up, as many as 300,000, possibly even 400,000, are thought to have perished and more than two million have been forced to flee. No one in their right mind suggested that the international community keep out of Bosnia or Kosovo. The same has to be applied to Darfur, a humanitarian catastrophe on a far greater scale. At the very least, if, as the Khartoum government insists, it has not supported the genocidal Janjaweed militias, then events are clearly beyond its control; the international community has a duty to intervene. Khartoum will simply not be allowed to defy the international community on this issue. Sanctions, so far avoided by the UN, which in fact has bent over backward to avoid demonizing Sudan (to Washington's annoyance), will be the inevitable result. As for Khartoum's attempts to present the court move as Washington's doing, hoping thereby to rally international anti-American sentiment to its defense, they will not work either. Washington was in fact opposed to using the ICC. It wanted a special African court. International sentiment is wholly on the side of the people of Darfur. It is time that Khartoum faced up to that fact and made moves to settle the problem before Darfur explodes into a full-scale secessionism."
Dammam’s moderate Al-Yaum editorialized (4/4): "Current world political developments are similar to the events of a famous American movie, Dances with Wolves, Sudan must understand how to find its way out. The recent UNSC resolution calls for hunting hundreds of Sudanese officials under the charges of war crimes in Darfur region. It seems it is an invention similar to weapons of mass destruction in Iraq, or perhaps a Trojan horse for open foreign intervention in Sudan under the excuse of arresting wanted persons, in case Sudan refuses to implement the resolution."
"For Americans Only"
Riyadh’s moderate Al-Jazirah editorialized (4/3): "When the U.S. was assured that its citizens will not be brought before the International Criminal Court it allowed a [UNSC] resolution against Sudan to pass. Therefore, Sudan and other weaker countries of the world should not wait for such exemptions, which the UNSC offers only to strong countries, especially the United States. The Americans who are guilty of the crimes of Abu-Ghraib in Iraq, mass killing of civilians in Afghanistan and in its prisons and violation of human rights in Guantanamo have not brought before an international court."
"America And Confusion Of Conceptions"
Abha’s moderate Al-Watan editorialized (4/2): "The problem of the U.S. with the world is not about its noble icons. Unquestionably, democracy, freedom, and human rights are the ultimate object of the world's nations. But the U.S. sends signals that contradict with its noble values, and this affects U.S. credibility... When one sees the American human rights violations in Abu Ghraib and Guantanamo, America's noble calls sound incredible and bogus... While the U.S. asks the world to comply with international resolutions, the U.S. overlooks Israel's neglecting international resolutions... The U.S. does not accept international resolution that could harm its interests. The U.S. delayed voting on the UNSC resolution regarding Darfur until it made sure that Americans are not included. As if Americans are allowed to do whatever they want any time and any where... If the U.S. wants peace and democracy to prevail in the world, it should reconsider its values and how to apply them on the ground."
"The Fake International Justice"
Jeddah’s moderate Okaz editorialized (4/2): "We agreed on the necessity on applying punishment on criminals, whether they are Arabs or not... However, the lie of international justice is not applied in the recent UNSC resolution regarding Darfur. What does it mean to exclude Americans involved? That means that we, as the international community, give the American soldiers the right to play with nations’ destiny. Before that we gave Israel the right to ignore the international will by not applying UNSC resolutions for 40 years. Then, how can we convince our nations that UNSC is fair and we must comply accordingly?"
LEBANON: "The Sudanese Government Must Act Quickly To Avert A Perilous Threat"
The moderate English-language Daily Star opined (4/5): "The Sudanese government is right to say that their country is under threat. The UN Security Council has agreed that there have been serious human rights violations in Darfur, where hundreds of thousands of innocent civilians have been killed and tortured by government forces and militias. In passing Resolution 1593, the Security Council has affirmed that crimes of such a horrific magnitude are unacceptable in this day and age and that such grave offenses will no longer go unpunished. While it is true that countless massacres in Africa have been ignored in the past (including those caused by the hands of colonizing forces), the international community is slowly progressing to a point where it will no longer sit idly by and watch as thousands of innocent people are slaughtered. And although the world has been slow to respond to the crisis in Darfur, it has done so with a resounding clarity and commitment to justice: the Security Council's resolution seeks the prosecution of 51 suspects, including senior government officials, in the International Court of Justice in the Hague. In light of this resolution, it is not the international community that is posing the greatest threat to Sudan, but rather, the Sudanese government's own obstinance. At such a crucial point in Sudan's development, the government cannot afford to disregard international consensus and thereby jeopardize its budding economy by subjecting itself to the threat of tougher sanctions. Doing so would be perilous for the regime. The country's existence and progress depends on its continued integration into the global economy and on international assistance in the form of aid, loans and debt relief. Ignoring the international community now will only serve to weaken the government of Sudan. It is also in Sudan's interests to do what is best for its citizenry by demonstrating a commitment to justice and the rule of law. Such moves will not only bolster the government's standing at home, they will also improve the country's standing among international investors and aid donors. For now, it seems Sudan has opted to go on a collision course with the UN, vehemently defending capability to prosecute war criminals at home. There is every reason for the government to reconsider its stance. For surely an international role in chaperoning justice is not an infringement on the Sudan's sovereignty, but rather, a contribution to its development."
SYRIA: "Exemption Of U.S. Citizens Is Unfair"
Ahmad Dhawa wrote in government-owned Al Thawra (4/8): "France has confessed that a settlement was reached with the United States to exempt its citizens from being referred to the ICC. And this is why the United States abstained from the vote in the 15-member council. The exemption of U.S. citizens is unfair and should not be made by a UN body, which is supposed to be even-handed. The UN charter does not differentiate between a superpower and a small country, and it is applicable to all nations without exception. By insisting on the exemption of its citizens, the United States has demonstrated its flagrant bias and double standards. It seems that the U.S. administration is fully aware of some reports that point to the involvement of some U.S. and Israeli citizens in the arms trade, supplying warring parties in Sudan with arms to keep the flames of civil war burning. France should not have accepted this settlement because it is a signatory to the ICC. With this resolution, the council has shown its poor performance in preserving international peace and security as well as succumbing to U.S. will."
UAE: "Referral of War Crimes Suspects To The ICC Is A Good Decision"
Mohammad Al Hassan Ahmad wrote in pan-Arab Al Khaleej (4/8): In one week, the UNSC issued three resolutions on Sudan with the aim of imposing international custodianship on this country. The latest resolution, however, reflects flagrant double standards on the part of the international community in applying the principles of justice, which must be equal for all. The United States is not a signatory to the ICC, and had earlier threatened to reject any move that would give the court any legitimacy. If America refuses to hand over its citizens to trial before this court, how could it dare pass a resolution seeking the referral of another nation's citizens to the same court. The Security Council agreed to exempt U.S. citizens from being referred to the court. Again, this shows how far the United States is from the principles of justice and democracy it always claims to promote. Khartoum, however, vowed not to hand over any of its citizens to a foreign court. The question is how can this complex problem be solved so as to help Sudan avoid the catastrophic consequences of this resolution. Khartoum should press ahead with its peace agreements with southern rebels and make every possible effort to end the Darfur crisis. And if the United States is really serious about achieving peace and stability in Sudan, it should give priority to peace, not to penalty. The referral of Darfur's war crimes suspects to the ICC is a good decision, which should be implemented with immediate effect to put an end to the chapter of Darfur."
EAST ASIA AND PACIFIC
CHINA (HONG KONG SAR): "Finally, Small Steps To End Darfur's Horror"
The independent English-language South China Morning Post said in an editorial (4/3): "As the humanitarian tragedy has unfolded in Darfur, an indifferent world has looked on. The passage of three separate resolutions on the conflict by the United Nations Security Council over the past week has provided a glimmer of hope that the tide may be turning. These include a decision to send Darfur's worst human-rights abuse cases to the newly established International Criminal Court and imposing sanctions on government officials found to be involved.... Restoring order and justice after so much destruction will not be simple. An immediate end to the atrocities should be the first priority. In order to achieve that, a substantial foreign presence needs to be considered.... The other resolutions are by no means ideal. The decision to send Darfur cases to the International Criminal Court means the court can finally take action, but the exemption granted for the U.S. and other countries not signed up to the treaty is worrying. As could be expected, this has led to charges of double standards and will make it harder to get co-operation from the Sudanese government in handing over suspects. But it can only be hoped that the passage of all three, albeit imperfect, resolutions brings the security council and the world closer to doing something to stop the horrors visited upon Darfur."
CANADA: "Darfur Another Rwanda"
The conservative Winnipeg Sun editorialized (3/29): “What is happening in Darfur easily surpasses the 'ethnic cleansing' of the Kosovar Albanians that prompted former U.S. president Bill Clinton and NATO to bomb Yugoslavia for 11 weeks in the spring of 1999. And yet, after two years, the UNSC only last week agreed to send a 10,700-member peacekeeping force to Sudan--not to Darfur, but to monitor a peace deal that has ended a different 21-year civil war in the south. Apparently, the UN's hope is that the simple presence of peacekeepers will somehow stop the slaughter in Darfur, presumably by osmosis. The UN has also consistently stopped short of describing what is going on in Darfur as a genocide, a move which could have prompted direct military intervention and economic sanctions. The reason? China and Russia, which both have permanent seats on the Security Council and thus veto power over its resolutions, have major oil interests in Sudan. The U.S., another permanent Security Council member, has labeled the Darfur crisis a genocide and done more than any other country to stop the slaughter. But it's reluctant to support any UN resolution calling for Sudanese war criminals to be tried by the International Criminal Court because it is opposed to that body. And so another Rwanda is in the making, right before the eyes of the world which had vowed never to let such a thing happen again. It is simply unconscionable. “
ARGENTINA: "The UN Vis-A-Vis The Crisis In Darfur"
Daily-of-record La Nacion editorialized (4/6): "The UNSC has just decided that the International Criminal Court will have the venue in judging war crimes and crimes against humanity that could have been committed in Darfur, Sudan, where an ethnical cleansing policy has killed more than 180,000...and created one million and a half refugees.... France and the U.S. put aside their rigid stances, thus allowing a deal, which was a healthy step in what seems to be a new spirit in the transatlantic relationship.... After a really excessive delay in dealing with the crisis, the UNSC passed three resolutions in a row regarding Darfur. One established the deployment of a 100,000-men peace force; the second imposed 'intelligent' sanctions freezing assets and hindering trips abroad of those to be blamed for atrocities...and the third one is related to trying those that are responsible for war crimes and crimes against humanity. All of these are vital steps to be taken in dealing with the humanitarian crisis in Darfur."
BRAZIL: "Diplomatic Mistake"
Liberal Folha de S. Paulo editorialized (4/4): “Brazilian diplomacy and logic do not always walk together. Although Brazil has declared itself favorable to the trial of suspects of war crimes in Darfur, Sudan, by the International Penal Court, it abstained from voting on the issue at the Security Council.... The size of the mistake made by Brazilian diplomacy can be seen in the other nations that abstained from voting: the U.S., China and Algeria.... What is taking place in Darfur is genocide, a true ethnic cleansing campaign against non-Arab black civilian population.... The impression is that Brazil, in its campaign to obtain a permanent seat at the UN’s Security Council, is going much too far with its policy of not contradicting anyone, not even dictatorships.”
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